Five-Time National Award Winner Who Carved Her Own Path

Shabana Azmi is celebrating her 71st birthday today. From her fans to celebrities, wishes are pouring in on social media for the versatile actress. A five-time National Award winner, Shabana started her film career in the 70s and then went on to feature in several memorable films throughout the 80s and 90s.

Shabana was born on September 18, 1950 in Hyderabad. After attending Queen Mary School in Mumbai, Shabana stayed in the city to graduate in Psychology from St Xavier’s College.

Her journey to the filmdom began with Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune where she did an acting course in 1973. Shabana was heavily inspired by Jaya Bachchan and decided to join the FTII only after following her career.

She started her film journey next year in Shyam Benegal’s Ankur in which she played the role of a maid. Cementing her credentials right from her first film, Shabana won the National Award for Best Actress for Ankur.

The 71-year-old is the only Indian actress to win the prestigious award for record five times. She had even won the award for three straight years in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

Swami (1977), Junoon (1979), Sparsh (1980), Arth (1982), (1983) and Paar (1984) are some of the memorable films which shaped Shabana’s career. She never hesitated to give her all for any role. For a TV show called – Amma: Ek Maa Jo Laakhon Ke Liye Bani Amma- she even shaved her head. While the show did not receive the desired attention, it clearly showed Shabana’s commitment to the cinema.

In 2012, she was honoured with, Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award of the country.

Married to the great lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar, Shabana is the mother of Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar, both of whom have already made their mark in Bollywood. The 71-year-old has also been vocal with her political and social views.

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